Carmel By The Sea

There are few more scenic regions of the United States than Northern California.  Meg and I spent 3 glorious days driving through and photographing the California Coastline, visiting Carmel and driving along Big Sur.  As a mother, life doesn’t get much sweeter. As an amateur photographer, even my limited skills are bound to capture some of the beauty of the area.

This photograph of the bluffs, the water and the sky , is my favorite photograph from the trip.

Carmel

Carmel

Evening in Carmel has its own beauty.  The softer colors of the sun and sky at dusk are worth experiencing.

Sunset in Carmel

The Green Lantern was a bed and breakfast located an easy walking distance from the ocean and the downtown restaurants. Definitely a great place for mother-daughter bonding.

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Kauffman Garden’s Smallest Critters

It is a glorious season at Kauffman Gardens.  The fall flowers are in full bloom or blooming.  The air is cool.

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It is a busy time of year in the garden.  Not only are visitors spread throughout the garden, the insects are everywhere. they seem to thrive in the cooler weather.  In their ways, the insects are as fascinating as the garden that attracts them.

Monarch butterflies are in abundance, with their brilliant orange and black wings and spotted bodies.

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While incredibly destructive in large numbers, this grasshopper was all alone, enjoying the banquet that surrounded him.

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This wings of this moth were so pale in color they seem to have disappeared from the page.  However, the photograph reflects, its yellow body matched the flowers that surrounded it.

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Not as vibrant as its neighbors, this moth is a sharp contrast to the colors of the vibrant pink and green.

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The bees everywhere were busy as they darted from flower to flower.  None of the insects paid the slightest attention to each other or the human visitors.  All of them worked hard as though their own survival–and the beauty of the garden–depend on their work.  Probably they do.

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Hope you find a bit of nature to enjoy and explore.  Happy weekend.

Walking In Helen Putnam Park, Mom’s Camera

Family travel always involves exploring the environment around us. Northern California is a perfect destination for discovering new and wonderful places.  On a recent visit to see Meg, we put on our walking shoes and, with cameras in hand, hiked and drove through the wonderful countryside in Sonoma County.

Our first hike focused on Helen Putnam Park, located just west of Petaluma.  The park includes 216 acres of grasslands and forests.  In late April, the wildflowers were in bloom throughout the park.  The well-worn walking paths and old wagon roads could easily have been formed during the years of the California 1849 gold rush, when pioneers flocked into Petaluma from the Northeast.

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We watched this woman happily make her way over the hill and around the bend in the path.

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Home to geckos and birds, this gnarled old tree seemed timeless.

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This old barn can be seen from the entry way to Helen Putnam Park.

Kansas City’s Winter Wonderland

With his thick fur coat, Casey rejoices as he runs through the 10 inch of newly fallen snow, only briefly impeding our snow removal efforts.  Later that day we had an additional two inches of snow.

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Businesses, churches, banks and government agencies closed.  We dug out of the first snow and wham, Monday evening the snows began again.  Terry and I measured another 7 inches of snow on top of the original snow that had “compressed” but not melted.

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Churches, businesses, government agencies and banks closed again, or limited their hours/personnel.

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As Kansas City again dug out of the snow, there was lots of opportunity to walk through our neighborhood to really experience the beauty of the snow.

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Have a safe and beautiful day.

For The Birds

Pelicans are among nature’s most unusual birds.  They look prehistoric, dinaourish in fact. Graceful in flight, pelicans are cartoonish on the land.

If you want to see pelicans up close and personal, visit Florida.  I photographed this handsome specimen at Lake Okeechobee.  Half the size of Rhode Island, Okeechobee is the largest fresh water lake in Florida.  For reasons unknown to me, tourism is nearly non-existent around the lake.  When we visited a nearly abandoned dock there were a dozen or more men and women fishing for supper.  The birds and the fishermen occupied the dock in harmony, presumably with the birds anticipating scraps of food.  It made it relatively easy to get a few photographs of these wonderful birds.  DSC_0153

Flora

One of the beautiful things about California is the many varieties of flora you can find throughout the state. My two favorite areas are the wine country and the coast. Both beautiful. Both peaceful. But while the wine country continues to grow in both agricultural and economic development, the coast remains largely untouched. Thanks to the California Coastal Commission, established in 1972, and the Coastal Act of 1976, the use of land and water in the coastal zone is carefully planned and regulated. As a result, the coast north of San Francisco continues to be undeveloped, and flora continues to flourish.

Flora along California Coast at Bodega Headlands

This is a shot from my mini-hike at Bodega Headlands back in November. Since I am usually focused on pictures of the ocean and of sunset, I thought this would be a nice addition to my photographic repertoire. Given, the ocean is still in the background, but these red finger-like plants were simply too interesting to ignore.

One Orchid–Three Images

My holiday decorations are not complete without orchids.  This year I bought my orchids from Bird’s Botanical, a family owned business located in the caves at I-435 & 23rd Street, in Independence, Mo.  Only open for business on Tuesdays, it is an adventure just to be there.  The orchids run the gamut of colors, shapes and sizes.

I thought it would be fun to photograph this particularly interesting bloom.  Relying on my D 5100 Nikon and my Tamron zoom lens, I took a number of shots using flash, long exposures, short exposures, and “Auto”, as well as taking photographs from a variety of different angles.  In picking from all of the photographs, I eliminated some because they were blurred, over exposed, under exposed, or just bad.  I finally decided to show you three.  They seemed to me to make the cold winter day a little less dreary.

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May your new year be as lovely as this flower.